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UK Government Announces Sweeping New Post-Brexit Data Measures

Graham Turner

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UK data strategy
New multi-billion pound global data partnerships and a newly-nominated head of the ICO underpin the UK’s post-brexit strategy.

A post EU-Britain will prioritise striking ‘data adequacy’ partnerships, leveraging £11 billion worth of unrealised trade in data transfers. The government has also announced its preferred candidate to take up position as the new Information Commissioner.

The government is outlining the first territories with which it will establish data adequacy partnerships with now it has left the EU – the United States, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the Dubai International Finance Centre and Colombia.

It also confirmed that future partnerships with India, Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia are being prioritised.

Data adequacy partnerships, with countries or sectors which have high data protection standards, means organisations do not have to implement costly compliance measures to share personal data internationally.

These new data adequacy partnerships, hope to ‘build significantly’ on the £80 billion of data-enabled service exports to these 10 destinations from the UK every year.

The UK currently has 42  of these adequacy arrangements with countries around the world.


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The government also named New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards as its preferred candidate to be the UK’s next Information Commissioner, following a global search.

As Information Commissioner and head of the UK regulator responsible for enforcing data protection law, he will be ’empowered to go beyond the regulator’s traditional role of focusing only on protecting data rights, with a clear mandate to take a balanced approach that promotes further innovation and economic growth’.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Now that we have left the EU I’m determined to seize the opportunity by developing a world-leading data policy that will deliver a Brexit dividend for individuals and businesses across the UK.

“That means seeking exciting new international data partnerships with some of the world’s fastest growing economies, for the benefit of British firms and British customers alike.

“It means reforming our own data laws so that they’re based on common sense, not box-ticking. And it means having the leadership in place at the Information Commissioner’s Office to pursue a new era of data-driven growth and innovation. John Edwards’s vast experience makes him the ideal candidate to ensure data is used responsibly to achieve those goals.”

Mission Statement on the UK’s approach to international data transfers and the ‘UK Adequacy Manual’ are also being published today. These will be used to inform the assessment of a territory’s commitment to high data protection standards.

These are alongside a call for experts to form a new council to inform and consult on the UK’s international data transfers policy. The council will consist of the ‘brightest and best minds from across the globe and be drawn from industry, academia and civil society.’

Graham Turner

Sub Editor

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